is time for the games to be OVER. ESPN The Magazine announced on Thursday
that sometime in the
next week, Fedor will be “divorcing” M-1
and becoming a free agent. This opens the possibility of a Randy Couture
vs. Fedor Emelianenko dream fight in the UFC.
But, there is one
man in the way. Dana White.
Apy Echteld, one
of Fedor’s agents, has said that they are open
to discussion. They are willing to make this happen. Discussions with
Fedor’s team reached a stalemate with both sides making demands
that neither were willing to agree to.
Among those demands
were signing Fedor to an exclusive deal with UFC. I can understand
both sides on this issue. Fedor wants to be able
to compete in Sambo and should have the chance to since he is a world
champion. Dana White wants Fedor to belong to the UFC because of
the huge investment. If Fedor becomes the champion, Dana is concerned
that it may devalue the UFC heavyweight belt if Fedor is off fighting
in other organizations. Another consideration is what if he is injured?
This seemed to
be the big deal breaker leading to the stalemate. In negotiations
this time, Dana White needs to compromise for the
of the UFC. Just last week EliteXC announced a deal with CBS to
put their MMA show on network TV. The competition continues to
World Victory Road recently putting on a successful show with Takanori
Gomi and Josh Barnett. It also appears that Pride is being reborn
in K-1’s Dream. Mark Cuban has also thrown his hat, and billions,
into his idea of an MMA organization, HDNet Fights.
Right now the UFC
needs Fedor, the HW division is growing weak. Bringing Fedor in would
probably bring Randy Couture back giving the division
White wants to bring Fedor in because he wants Randy back, he wants
to try and prove his statements that Fedor
#1, and, let’s face it, he wants the money. The UFC is the
number one MMA organization in the world right now, but with the
growth of these other companies it may not be for long.
Here is what, in
my opinion, needs to happen with Dana and Fedor Emelianenko. Dana
White needs to let Fedor fight in Sambo. If Fedor becomes UFC
champion, a Sambo loss will not have an affect on the UFC title.
If anything it would create a new MMA contender. Dana also needs
to pay the man. Emelianenko deserves to make more than Brock Lesnar.
Fedor needs to be willing to fight MMA for the UFC only. I do not
think it would be appropriate for a UFC champion to fight and possibly
lose in another organization.
The other parts
of the negotiations do not involve Fedor. It involves the man who
would be Fedor’s first fight, the current UFC
heavyweight champion, Randy Couture. It is well know that The Natural
happy with his contract and that Dana was unable to sign Fedor,
so he resigned. Since that time Randy Couture and the UFC have
on good terms and each have lawsuits against the other. Randy Couture
has even signed a contract with HDNet fights that comes into effect
once his UFC contract is up.
Dana White has
some bridge building to do here. One positive thing that Dana has
going for him in his negotiations with Randy is the
respect that he still shows him by recognizing him as the UFC HW
champion and as a friend. What Dana needs to do is PAY HIM. The champion
deserves to make the most money in the division.
all the other organizations getting fighters and TV deals, the UFC
and this fight to stay on top of the MMA world.
It is time to get the deal done and make it happen Dana. Still,
be surprised to see Randy Couture vs. Fedor Emelianenko fighting
under the HDNet Fights banner by the end of 2008.